Dvorak Keyboard

I’m not sure if I’ve brought up the subjects of keyboards here, but does anyone use a Dvorak keyboard?

Here are some advantages:

There is even a nice version for programmers:

(check out the order of numbers)

I use a right-hand version of the Dvorak keyboard (because of my hand injury), but I’m considering a switch to the regular Dvorak.

It was quite a brain-workout to switch from QWERTY to Dvorak right-hand. I have trouble typing on a QWERTY keyboard now…

I’ve been using Dvorak for 2+ years. There are a few drawbacks that people should know before switching away from QWERTY.

(1) No one can use your computer without switching it to QWERTY for every application every time. This isn’t a problem if you are absolutely the only person who ever uses your computer at home/work. That’s hardly ever the case. Being on vacation and having to walk someone through the process of switching the keyboard settings can be a pain.

(2) You quickly forget how to type on a QWERTY keyboard. This is a much bigger problem than it at first seems. I’m the “computer expert” for my friends, family and co-workers, but when I get on their computers I look like an 80 year man hunting and pecking across their keyboards.

(3) It’s not as easy to type the word QWERTY on Dvorak.

I consider that to be one of the benefits. :slight_smile:

When people want to borrow my computer, they spend much less time on it because it’s very frustrating for them.

This could also be a benefit if you ever want to avoid fixing everyone’s computers. :slight_smile:

I use Svorak (Swedish Dvorak), but pretty much exclusively for IRC.

It was a fun mental exercise learning the keys, and took a bit of time. When you start to get it down it feels good.

I also created my own keyboard layout some time over ten years ago. I had my friend make a program that would just count and output the number of every character in a plain text file, then I copied & pasted a lot of ordinary and formal Finnish text into a file from the Internet and designed the layout so that the most commonly occurring keys would be conveniently placed and on alternating hands. I learned to type on it rather slowly, I didn’t however continue to use it.

QWERTY is so imprinted in my mind that I have no fear whatsoever of forgetting how to type on it.

I’ve lost the ability to type on QWERTY, but I’m sure it would only take a week or two to relearn. :slight_smile:

I’ve been using a Dvorak keyboard for several years now. I agree with the disadvantages which you put down. However, I am currently writing this on my girlfriend’s computer. Not as fast as I was once able to type with QWERTY, true, but not at a snail’s pace. However, I used to use the French keyboard layout quite often for my classes, and it’s very similar to QWERTY. I recently switched to the French Canadian Dvorak keyboard, however.

I also never really had too much of a problem with others using my computer. After a couple of clicks you can easily change your computer so that QWERTY is the default. I’m sure you could write a script to do the work for you in Linux, too.

Wow I am surprised how many of use Dvorak! But I’m equally surprised at how many people have trouble typing on qwerty after switching.

I started using Dvorak when I was 16, and ten years later and a few switches back and forth (and once to a “frogpad” aka “oww my hands!”), I’m still on it.

Some disadvantages:
–If you think your on a Qwerty keyboard and typing you might mistakenly write “ass” instead of “all” and then (mysteriously) use the ‘L’ key correctly after that.
–It takes about 20 hours of typing tests to be able to type effectively, and then still quite a bit of effort to fully switch.
–Most applications/games are mapped to a Qwerty, which makes keybinding a regular chore.
–Most people are really pissed off if they want to use your computer. LOL.
–When you do have to type on a qwerty keyboard your hands get tired faster.
–To this day I still get ‘O’ and ‘E’ backwards
Some advantages:
–Less finger stress
–Fun challenge
–Type a bit faster, for longer, with less fatigue.
–Seems to help carpel tunnel inflammation

I do use a qwerty keyboard from time to time, and I do glance at the keyboard when I have to type a ‘J’, but otherwise knowing I’m are at a qwerty keyboard makes me code-switch and write OK on the qwerty. If I switch a lot I do see a random “ass” in the stuff I write.

Also interesting if any of you know Japanese,

Of the right hand - left hand key stroke combinations there are about 1600. Lets map the Joyo Kanji to each of them:

There is a lot of good information here. This is the first time I am hearing of this layout, and I am not intrigued.

I am French, and typed on a AZERTY layout until I was 20. I then moved to the UK, back to France, UK again, then Canada, France, Canada, France, USA, France, USA. with at least 6 months in country each time. 6 months in which I learned QWERTY, then relearn AZERTY, and back and forth. After much frustration, I started to always move with 2 AZERTY keyboards ( home and work), and finaly learned how to type without loooking at the keys. So my work laptop is a QWERTY layout which types like an AZERTY (half of the emails I type are still in French and I need the accens), which not unlike what you mentioned above, frutrates other people trying to use my computer (espacially our IT department) even though there are not so many keys out of place.

How do you learn and use Dvorak? Did you buy a Dvorak layout for visual aid, or did you start directly by reprogramming the keys? Did you have any problem with the numbers being non-sequencial?
The are two versions of the French Dvorak, I think I’d give them both a try (and interestingly enough, both versions have numbers arranged sequencially). I’m a little bummed that the iPad does not seem to support this layout though…

My current keyboard looks like this, with stickers pasted on the keys:

I think the numbers are sequential on Dvorak keyboards except for the programmers version.

I just ordered stickers today for the regular Dvorak layout, so I’m going to change the layout in about a week. There are a few companies that sell keyboard layout stickers:


English dvorak, the uppercase and lower case symbol keys are the same (comma, and < are on the same key in both) So i just pop off the keys of my keyboard and move it around, I did this with my apple laptop too.

A good way to do it is to look for flash typing games on the internet that start off with 8, and add more keys as the levels progress, the keys will not correspond to the dvorak homerow keys “A O E U, H, T, N, S” but if you work through all the levels you’ll learn all the keys.

Do you find one handed dvorak makes your hand more fatigued? One handed does make sense, mouse with one type with the other.

I try to use speech to text software for most typing, and two fingers when I’m typing on the keyboard. I have nerve problems in my hands and can’t type anymore. Since I’m using two hands anyway, I thought I should switch from one-handed Dvorak to two-handed layout. I had picked the one-handed keyboard because one of my hands was doing worse than the other at the time.

The main reason that I’m using Dvorak is to prevent myself from touch typing, so that I don’t injure my hands further. :slight_smile:

I’ve been using the regular Dvorak layout for a couple of weeks and like it so far. I should have switched a long time ago…

I learned to touch-type on a dvorak keyboard using a qwerty touch-typing book from the library. Touch-typing made computer programming a really pleasant task (especially with vi(m)), and I pity programmers I know who never took the time to learn to touch type.
I loved dvorak at first, but it became a nuisance to have to carry around a floppy with the software to switch the keyboard back and forth when I went to other computers.
This became impossible on equipment with qwerty keyboards that didn’t run DOS, Windows or Linux, and I eventually gave up and learned qwerty.
It feels like touch-typing on qwerty is only about 80% as efficient and comfortable as dvorak was.
If I ever decide to do a really large typing project, like writing a book, where I can use the same computer for the whole thing, I’ll probably re-learn and use dvorak.

I played with Colemak quite a bit. My qwerty speed on my mechanical is about 80wpm and for short bursts I can transcribe more quickly. With daily practice I can likely boost this to around 100wpm.

Stenographers take transcription at a rate of 220wpm. Colemak, Dvorak etc are more comfortable but do not increase transcription speed.

If you want to invest I highly recommend looking at plover.

I have used the Dvorak keyboard. I actually got into it after reading Moonwalking with Einsten and getting into learning techniques and such. There is also the Malcolm Gladwell book, Outliers. He talks about learning in there. One of them (I can’t recall which) discusses the “okay plateau”. And in that discussion, they use keyboard typing as an example.

I’m kind of a scientist at heart- I had to know if this was true. I also wanted to know if the claims of a Dvorak keyboard being faster was true. I suppose the results are a bit subjective because of my sample size (1). But I used it everyday. It took me about 2 months to get on solid footing (40wps). However, I never really got faster than that and I lost interest (this could have been me hitting that plaeau). However, I can say this- I had a lot of technical challenges. I once reset a work PC to Dvorak. Then after I decided to switch back… my PC would RANDOMLY convert back to Dvorak whenever it felt like it! TO THIS DAY, occassionally, my keys will stop typing in QWERTY and it will take me like a minute to remember what’s happening. I have tried EVERYTHING on the planet to reset this (short of a full reinstall of windows).

Funny enough, shortly after this experiment ended, I was at work and we were pranking each other. When someone would leave their screen unlocked, most people were flipping screens and such. Well, someone flipped my screen and then unplugged my keyboard and a few other things I can’t recall. So… I decided to flip his screen as soon as he left his unlocked… but then I also changed his keyboard layout to Dvorak. He ended up calling IT because he couldn’t log into his PC. Of course, IT had NO CLUE what to do. I finally broke down and told him. :slight_smile: